Saturday, December 10, 2016

Let’s play “Guess The Candidate” in the upcoming Lake Worth elections next March

[Note: This is another stroll down memory lane, to December 2015. . . ]

Which candidate in the upcoming elections in Lake Worth do you think would be excited about the possibility of our City getting sued? Note that the money used to defend the City would come at the expense of your road improvements, cleaning our parks, keeping the City safe for the children and a whole long list of other things that need fixing and upgrades. 

Stay tuned for more of “Guess The Candidate” in the little City of Lake Worth.

[. . . Of course, that candidate was Ryan Hartman. He later lost to Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell in March 2016. Maxwell won in a landslide. To read Hartman’s very entertaining concession following that loss use this link.]

Ribbon cutting next Tuesday and check out the new Lake Worth Herald website

Here’s news about an upcoming event next Tuesday (Dec. 13th) from the Herald, “LW Completes Another Greenway Project”:

The City of Lake Worth has announced the completion of the 11th Avenue South Greenway Project.

[and. . .]

     There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at the intersection of 11th Avenue South and D Street.
     Everyone is welcome. Contact the City of Lake Worth Public Services office at 585-1720 with any questions or comments.
Check out the new Herald website using this link. Pick up the print edition tomorrow at the City’s newsstand at 600 Lake Ave.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Letter from Congresswoman Lois Frankel to West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio:

Click on image to enlarge

Thank You everyone for attending Wednesday night’s book launch for “The Cottages”

If you've already read this, Thank You for visiting again and please scroll down.
Taylor Jones, “The Cottages of Lake Worth” photographer, signs a book. The book’s coordinator, the ubiquitous Janice Snearer looks on.

“Theres nothing like volunteerism” and “This is for you Dean.”
Janice Snearer (watch the short video below).

Wednesday night was the launch event for “The Cottages of Lake Worth” hardcover book. A book years in the making. How long? Use this link to see a presentation by Roger Hendrix to the City Commission about “The Cottages” back in December 2013. If you recall, it was an article by Post reporter Lona O’Conner (since retired) in November of 2013 that gave this effort such a big boost back then.

About 50 people showed up and everyone had a very good time.

The party was held in one of our historic treasures, the Lake Worth Castle. Attendance was by RSVP and the owner of the home was very nice in letting the event be held in her home. A public event is coming up at the Cultural Council in Downtown Lake Worth. Here is an excerpt from The Coastal Star:

A book signing will be held from 3 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, 601 Lake Ave., in Lake Worth.

[and this. . .]

     “We were having a committee meeting and somebody said, ‘Who would like to do a coffee table book?’ ” Janice Snearer recalls. “And I looked and my hand was up.”
     Snearer, an artist and former gallery owner, became the coordinator, hosting meetings in her 1931 home on Lakeside Drive.

A special thanks to Ruby Hummingbird for providing the wonderful music and to Ken Keffer for the excellent food catering; everyone enjoyed both of their work.

Here is a short video taken holding the camera of Janice’s short speech for the assembled, it’s a little shaky but still very watchable:To watch more videos from my Lake Worth YouTube channel use this link. When you go to the page look for the red “Subscribe” icon at the top right corner. Subscribers get an email when new videos have been uploaded.

Ever been to the City’s Farmers Market? Come and see the book every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. until the end of December. Meet and chat with Janice!

Tonight from 6:30–8:30: “Christmas Carol Edition: Beer and Hymns” at Aioli’s

The Herald website has a whole new look, check that out using this link. The print edition is always available on Friday. Pick up your copy to find out what’s going on here in our little City:

Pick up The Lake Worth Herald print edition at our City’s newsstand located Downtown at 600 Lake Ave. Its still ¢50!

Below is an excerpt about an exciting event sponsored by the First Congregational Church (1415 North ‘K’ Street) here in the City of Lake Worth coming up tonight (Dec. 9th):

The First Congregational Church of Lake Worth (FCCLW) will sponsor the “Christmas Carol Edition: Beer and Hymns.” Once again, Ailoi’s, owned by a Lake Worth family, Melanie and Michael Hackman, will be the host location. Aioli’s is located at 7434 South Dixie Hwy., across from the Palm Coast Plaza.
     Not only does Aioli’s have great food, but this year all profits from the Beer and Hymns evening will be donated to North Grade Elementary School in Lake Worth. North Grade has helped Melanie and Michael select six needy families to experience the Christmas spirit.
     “Beer and Hymns: the Carol Edition” is under the watchful, professional eye of Richmond Schmidt. It was Schmidt that introduced Beer and Hymns.
     The concept was not original, but it was for the FCCLW church family. Everyone had such a good time. Let’s do it again!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians & Jews: “Interfaith alliance will send volunteers into community.”

An article about the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians & Jews was a small news item amidst all those circulars, Black Friday deals, real estate listings, and cars for sale in the Thanksgiving Day print edition of the Post. Here is the link to the article by reporter Michael Readling, an excerpt:

“Basically, it is kind of our mission in action. What we are doing is pulling people together from all different backgrounds, faiths and cultures to work side-by-side on volunteer projects,” said Sherri Gilbert, executive director of the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews. “We’re getting to know our neighbors, we’re doing a good deed and making our community livable, making it better.”

Use this link or call 561-833-6150 for future volunteer efforts at the Palm Beach Fellowship and to learn more about their mission: 

“The Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians & Jews is dedicated to promoting fellowship, understanding, and respect among all religions and cultures; bringing the community together through education, dialogue, and interaction; and addressing issues rooted in intolerance, anti-Semitism, and unjust discrimination.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Began this blog in 2006 and still get surprised: “Thank You Alex Hagan. . .”

The blog post below from last Monday rocketed to the top for blog traffic and remains there. Why? The Nov. 8th referendum was a month ago but would seem there remains a lot of interest in this topic. Without further ado, the post titled, “Thank You Alex Hagan at WPTV/NBC5 for news segment about our City’s bond referendum”:

After an election or vote it can sometimes take many months before the results can be seen in perspective: what went right and what went wrong. On September 28th Alex Hagan did a news segment that received a tremendous amount of attention on this blog leading up to the November 8th bond referendum.

How much did it help? It’s hard to tell. But one thing is for sure: it didn’t hurt. Here are two excerpts from the text of the TV news segment:

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - A crucial vote deciding the fate of Lake Worth’s roads is coming soon.
On November 8, voters will decide whether to approve a 40 million dollar bond referendum.
     The city posted a tax calculator on their website to give residents the chance to estimate how much more in taxes they would be paying the next few years.
     “Time for new roads.”
     David Richert is clearly aware of the issue, but as he plugs in the taxable assessed value of his home he's not too thrilled about the dollar amount.
     “Looking at $109 annually.”

[and. . .]

     However, Mike Luciano is okay with how much he would have to pay.
     “$187,” says Luciano. “It’s not so bad for the service that we’ll be getting. Think it will bring more investment.” [emphasis added]

The media gets a lot of things wrong. But they get a lot of things right too. So kudos to Alex Hagan for taking the time to educate the voters on a very important topic here in the little City of Lake Worth.

And “Letters to the Editor” like this didn’t hurt either:

The Nov. 8th referendum passed overwhelmingly. Now the City can fix that “shabby street surface” on 1st Ave. South because the car started rattling and will probably cost about $100 to fix.

“Butterflies in my stomach”, “out to lunch”, “sitting duck”, “ball is in your court”. . .

“It’s not rocket science.” Have your own idiom to share?

CRA, Finance Advisory Board, Library Board, Recreation Advisory Board, Sister City Board, Tree Board. . . where are the minutes?

See for yourself. Use this link.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Miss this from yesterday? “Lake Worth Finance Department Takes Top Honors”

A reminder for those in the press who may have missed this news from the City:

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the City of Lake Worth by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and its management.

An Award of Financial Reporting Achievement has been awarded to the Finance Department of the City of Lake Worth.

The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago, IL, and Washington, D.C.

Myth vs. FACT about the Ag Reserve by a former Palm Beach County Commissioner

You can read the entire article by former Commissioner Shelly Vana* in the July 14th edition of The Lake Worth Herald. Below is an excerpt—Myth vs. FACT:

Myth – The County’s $150,000,000 bond referendum purchased the entire Ag Reserve.
FACT – The County originally invested about $110,000,000 into the Ag Reserve and purchased 2,530 acres and over 40 million dollars was used to buy 3,610 acres of environmentally sensitive lands outside the Ag Reserve (northern Palm Beach County).

Myth – The County has allowed too many homes to be constructed in the Ag Reserve.
FACT – The Master Plan contemplated that approximately 14,000 new units would be constructed in the Ag Reserve. This did not include the 1,385 homes that existed or were approved before the creation of the Master Plan.

Myth – The Ag Reserve was supposed to be off limits to building.
FACT – Builders are required to preserve 1½ acres of land for every acre they want to build on therefore, developments have been the engine and the reason that additional land has been set aside for preservation.

Myth – No residential developments are allowed west of 441.
FACT – Residential communities are allowed to be built west of 441, but building can only take place on 20% of the site and 80% would be preserved.

Myth – If the County allows any rule changes there could be a shortage of fresh vegetable during the winter months.
FACT – Most farmers grow on significantly more acreage outside the Ag Reserve then they do inside the Ag Reserve . . . Farmers have estimated that approximately 70,000 peppers can be grown on a single acre of land and 95% of what they grow is not consumed in Palm Beach County. In fact fifty percent of food grown in the USA is wasted – never eaten by humans, according the information presented by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putman.

*District 3 Commissioner Vana was term-limited this year and could not run for re-election. Dave Kerner ran for that seat and won in a landslide. In the primary he beat Drew Martin in another landslide victory.

Monday, December 5, 2016

From Jill Karlin: Visit Café Tecun in Downtown Lake Worth, “Latin Food With Love”

Jill Karlin forwarded me this write-up about Café Tecun (location and hours below) and here are two excerpts:

     What a delightful find catty-corner to Starbucks on ‘L’ Street in the old location of The Taco Lady is the new Latin restaurant Café Tecun. Family-owned and operated. Not only is the renovation clean and fresh but the food at Café Tecun is clean and fresh as well, you sense it the minute you open the door.
     The bright freshly painted walls are adorned with acknowledgments of the family’s Guatemalan origins. . . well not the entire family. When I asked the owner Sean which country he came from he answered in what we quickly came to find out is his very personable sense of humor, “North Miami”.

[and. . .]

     This hard working family opens the restaurant daily serving huevos rancheros, Cuban coffee, café con leche, Latin delights including tres leches, flan, and rice pudding which they make themselves. Everything. All homemade with love.
     Their byline is “Latin Food With Love” and this is the truth. This family pours their heart into everything they do.

  • Small, counter-serve restaurant with 6 small tables inside and 1 outside
  • Address: 7 North ‘L’ Street (around the corner from Andy’s newsstand at 600 Lake Ave.)
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (closes at 10:00 on Sunday)
  • Phone: 561-260-3404

On social justice. Crazy question? Is a spike in Lake Worth’s electric rates a human rights issue? Women’s rights issue?

This is a question I posed last year when the big issue for Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, was sea level rise here in the City of Lake Worth. What concerned many was that discussion taking the focus off issues such as street lighting, the roads, potholes, and crime in many neighborhoods in this City. Read more about that below.

On the issue of social justice the editor(s) at the Post had this yesterday (Sunday, 12/4). The pull-quote:

“Free public Wi-Fi would also be a boon to economic development.” 

If “economic development” and social justice is so important to The Palm Beach Post why did they shut down their printing presses on Dixie Hwy. and send all those jobs to Broward County?

Anyhow, back to the topic, would a spike in electric rates be an immigrant rights issue? Sounds crazy? This idea was planted planted in my head last year and thought it was absurd. But never stopped thinking about it. The background is commissioners McVoy and Ryan Maier pitched the idea very hard that electric rates should go up at a City Commission meeting [in September 2015]. In a clash of ideals and convictions Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Andy Amoroso objected strongly and won the day.

It was a spirited and enlightening debate. Note that everyone, all five of the elected, focused mostly on the economics and finance aspect.

The pitch by commissioners McVoy and Maier to raise electric rates failed last year. Are they done trying? No.

Electric rates are higher in Lake Worth than rates by FPL but those rates have been steadily coming down the last few years, credit due to the mayor, vice mayor, and Commissioner Amoroso. The City Commission is in effect their own electric utility commission and can raise or lower rates at will. 

The idea by McVoy and Maier shocked many people and they got the message. At the City Commission meeting on September 22nd [2015] there was barely a mention of raising the rates. That, though, did little to quell public angst over this big issue in the City. Looking forward advised people how to protect themselves and their home and suggested switching to natural gas to soften any future electric rate hike. Again, an economic/financial response. What do you need to switch from electric appliances to natural gas? Money. The benefit pays off handily but it’s over time.

Were rates to go up that money going into the City coffers will ostensibly be for fixing the problems at the City Casino building, for example, but that is no guarantee the money won’t be directed to other areas like the project du-jour by any elected representative. McVoy makes the case that any hike in rates will be “just pennies” and belittled any suggestion that anyone would even notice the rate spike. 

It’s true that some people won’t notice a spike in rates and others will respond in ways such as changing the thermostat in the Summer from 68° to 69°. Others will see the benefit of switching to natural gas or purchase better windows. The suggestion that no one will notice or not alter their behavior in any way is ludicrous. A spike in electric rates will change how people live—the ones that can afford to change in a positive way. 

People have benefited from lowered electric rates and their quality of life has improved; a rise in rates will reverse that trend. Who will suffer the most if rates should go up as McVoy and Maier want to do? The poor, single women with children, immigrants, elderly on fixed incomes. . . the ones that can least afford to pay. 

So, to the question: Are “electric rates a human rights issue?” A “social justice” issue? Think I answered my own question.

A motivated candidate for City commissioner, campaigning on one of the issues of the day.

What’s one of the reasons Maryann decided to run and get “in the arena”? Continue reading and a short recap of the District 4 race is below.

Do you remember “Kristine’s Restaurant”? That structure is now the Blue Front BBQ, an outstanding example of early 20th Century highway architecture here in Lake Worth.

First, if you didn’t know, next year’s municipal elections are going to be crowded fields. Districts 2 and 4 will be decided on March 14th, 2017; the qualifying period just started last Tuesday and ends on December 13th at noon.

Here’s a short breakdown of the District 4 race: Herman Robinson and Maryann Polizzi are already in the race and there’s word others may want to jump in, the “water’s warm” as they say. The sitting commissioner for District 4 is Ryan Maier and he hasn’t decided what to do yet.

On the City’s referendum last November 8th, Maier broke ranks with the commissioner in District 2, Chris McVoy. Maier strongly supported the plan to fix our roads and potholes. That referendum passed by almost 70% of the voters. 

However. . . what’s soured many in the City about Maier is his support of aggressive panhandlers and any efforts to control the behavior of some of the homeless, certainly not all, but the ones causing all the trouble. He’s been quite public about his lack of support for any anti-aggressive panhandling ordinances.

For residents like Maryann Polizzi that is just completely unacceptable. And when Maier said at a City Commission meeting that peeing in public “was not that big a deal”, well, a lot of people got very upset about that too.

So to hear Maryann for yourself on this issue and others, show up at the Blue Front on December 7th and introduce yourself.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Interest in historic preservation runs in the family. . .

. . . and that applies to things built on land and things built with wheels too.

The picture above was taken in the rotunda of the State Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan. That is my father on the far right. He and other members of the Packard Motor Car Foundation received an Award of Excellence from the MotorCities National Heritage Area for their work in the restoration of the remaining facilities at the former Packard Motor Car Company Proving Grounds. Here is the announcement shared with the Trustees from the Chair of the Foundation:

I wanted to let you in on a bit of good news.
     Today the Packard Motor Car Foundation was selected as the winner of the 2016 Award for Excellence in the “Preservation” class by the MotorCities National Heritage Area, an affiliate of the National Park Service.
     Several months ago, we completed a nomination form and just a few weeks ago, I was notified that we were one of three finalists for the award. Here is that press release.
     The awards were announced under the capitol rotunda in Lansing, MI as part of Automobile Heritage Day as proclaimed by Governor Snyder. I attended the program as representative for the PMCF and was backed up by fellow trustees, Bruce Blevins and Charles Blackman. Six of our volunteers also came along for support – Ray & Ro Hollingsworth, Bruce Webster, Mary Anne Demo, Larry Telles and Steve Cizmas.
     Before the program started both Charles and I discussed that we had some very good competition and that it was not a slam dunk for us. So, I was both relived and proud when we were announced as winners for Preservation.

Below are some pictures of the former Proving Grounds that were included in the award application:

Rendering of early days of Packard Proving Grounds. This is the entrance boulevard with double gates which new Packard automobiles passed for testing. In the distance, you can see the large, high speed, oval track. That is not part of the property any longer, having been sold for development.

This is a present day aerial perspective showing one of the gates and buildings that underwent restoration. The facilities can be rented out for special events and car shows take place on the grounds during the warmer months.

My Dad’s interest in cars, and Packards in particular, spans a lifetime. He and I (see below) stand before a 1940 Packard All Weather Cabriolet, ahem, a few years ago. It has a removable canopy over the chauffeur’s compartment. This was his first collector Packard which he purchased in 1955.

Below is my Dad and Mom in a 1951 Packard 250 convertible. My Dad retrieved this car from former Packard dealer in Alpena, Michigan in the early 1970’s. Mr. Smith, the car dealer, used the car during the 1950’s as his personal car and as a way to promote his business.

Here’s another view of the same car from a distance.

He still has both cars. They make up a collection of rolling automotive history.

One month ago today. . . Palm Beach Post, page A5, Sunday, November 6th: “VOTE TRUMP!” & “DRAIN THE WASHINGTON SWAMP!”

The feverish hand-wringing continues at the Post over the election of Mr. Trump. However, the big question remains unanswered: If the editor(s) were so troubled by now-President-elect Donald Trump why didn’t they endorse Hillary Clinton? After reading the blog post below click this link to learn more about this.

Did you see one of those full-page ads (see below) to “Drain The Washington Swamp” leading up to November 8th? If I had my way would have preferred the baton be passed to Hillary but that didn’t happen. Have no doubt at all President Barack Obama will go down in history as one of the greats. But with all presidents a legacy can take thirty years or even longer before it’s truly appreciated.

Barack Obama. The 44th President of the United States.
In heavily Democrat-leaning Palm Beach County many readers of the The Palm Beach Post woke up to see this on Sunday morning, just 2 days before election day.

Hillary Clinton lost Florida to Mr. Donald J. Trump, now the President-elect and soon-to-be 45th President of these United States. In The Palm Beach Post there were three or four full-page political ads urging voters to vote for Trump. In heavily Democrat-leaning Palm Beach County the Post didn’t endorse Hillary Clinton. Or Mr. Trump either. But. . . how many more Republican voters marched to the polls after seeing this ad? Probably not many.

When I first saw those ads in the Post thought they must be starving for ad revenue. Their circulation is about 80,000 daily subscribers to the print edition. Not what one would call a major newspaper. If that number is off feel free to correct it. No one in Florida will ever accuse that newspaper of swinging any statewide election. 

Here’s the breakdown from November 8th in Palm Beach County:
  • Donald Trump (R): 41.2%, 270,762
  • Hillary Clinton (D): 56.51%, 371,411
  • All the others: 2.26%, 15,062
Clinton got 100,649 more votes than Trump. So what does this all mean? Still no one really knows. The only thing for sure is Trump is going to become the President of the United States on Friday, January 20th.

The Post got some real hefty revenue with those ads. But those ads probably didn’t swing too many voters one way or another. The ads motivated the already decided Trump voters to get out and vote.

The problem now is a lot of people, Clinton supporters, are really angry in Palm Beach County and they’re not really sure who to get mad at. It’s not Trump’s fault for winning. And I’m sure Trump’s campaign team was initially as surprised an anyone when they saw the results.

There are a lot of questions though, here are just a few:
  • Why did Clinton spend so much time in PBC? There was never any question she would do well here. Right?
  • Should Hillary have spent more time in Pennsylvania? Some other state? How many states didn’t she visit at all?
  • Was there polling data showing she was in trouble here too?
A Trump Presidency is not the end of the world. Remember all those people who said an Obama Presidency would be the end of America? And lastly, from Hillary Clinton:

We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America, and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.

Two recent articles about “The Cottages of Lake Worth”. . . and one with an unfortunate loaded word.

Clearly, if the reporter knew the word “gentrification” (aka The G’ Word) was one used to stir up emotions here in Lake Worth, not all of them good, he would have chosen a different synonym. As Emily Badger at The Washington Post explains, “It’s time to give up the most loaded, least understood word . . .”.

For too long now The ‘G’ Word has been used as a political tool to go after political enemies and confuse the public. But more on that below.

A short blurb in the Post needs to be clarified. The event coming up next Wednesday (Dec. 7th) is by invitation-only. The Lakeside Castle is a private home and the owner was very nice in letting the venue be used for this event. Hopefully people won’t have to be turned away believing this is open to the public.

A very good article also appears in The Coastal Star by Ron Hayes and he cites the public event to be held later:
A book signing will be held from 3 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, 601 Lake Ave., in Lake Worth.
Here is another excerpt from the article:

     “We were having a committee meeting and somebody said, ‘Who would like to do a coffee table book?’ ” Janice Snearer recalls. “And I looked and my hand was up.”
     Snearer, an artist and former gallery owner, became the coordinator, hosting meetings in her 1931 home on Lakeside Drive.
     Now the eight-member book committee had to select the 60 homes to be included in the book.
“Joan Appel drove the getaway car,” Snearer recalls with a laugh. “I’d go to the door and have to talk very fast to explain what we were doing. One woman had that what-are-you-selling pose, arms crossed, but slowly she relaxed.”
     In the end, only one man politely declined to have his cottage included.

From earlier in the article by Hayes:

     Cottages. Small, wood-frame, single-family dwellings. From the Middle English cot, and the Old Norse kut, as in “hut.”
     Then came the gentrification, [emphasis added] the renovation and the corporation.

Courtesy of Word Hippo, a short list of synonyms for The ‘GWord:
  • transformation
  • redevelopment
  • urban renewal
  • refurbishment
  • renovation
  • restoration
  • improvement
And FYI: To see “The Cottages of Lake Worth” book for yourself stop by the City of Lake Worth’s Farmers Market every Saturday until the end of December. Including tax the hardcover book costs $34.93 (list price is $32.95).

This image just in (click on to enlarge). The next “Cottages” tour is January 29th. The first tour sold out quickly, so there might not be any tickets left At the door next time.

Tomorrow (Monday, 12/4): Come out and meet the new principal of Highland Elementary, Elizabeth “Ellie” Morales

This important neighborhood meeting is open to everyone from any neighborhood. Meets at 7:00, Lake Worth Towers (details below).

Greetings friends and neighbors of Tropical Ridge, and to all of our community in Lake Worth,

For this months meeting we are happy to announce that Elizabeth Ellie Morales (the new principal at Highland Elementary) will be visiting us. We’ll learn about her dreams for our local school and how we can help her to attain them. We hope you can be there to hear her speak. The meeting will take place at the Lake Worth Towers, 1500 Lucerne Ave, at 7:00.